We won the SEC East, but we were creamed by Alabama in the title game.
We were demolished by Florida State.
We have a stellar defense, but our offense is less than amazing.
That’s what Florida has been known for the past two years. We win the East, but can’t take home the title. We end the regular season with a loss. Our offense isn’t the most efficient. We don’t have the respect that we had in 2007,2008, 2009. We’re not regarded as one of the powerhouses of the country.
This is the season all of that changes.
We open our season with Michigan. It’s a big game, which means it has the potential to give us the respect we’ve lacked for so many years, if we can win. If. That’s the key word in that sentence. I think we can, though. For one thing, Jim Harbaugh doesn’t have a returning quarterback, either, and he also lost star tight end Jake Butt. But here’s the more important factor: motivation. We have a motivation they don’t. We were the ones on the receiving end of that embarrassing loss to end our 2015 season. We were the ones who had to stand there and watch their team celebrate in the middle of the field. We went through all of that. They didn’t.
And you know what? The boys are confident. Not just about game one, but about this season and about who we are as a team. In every article I read on floridagators.com and every interview I watched at Media Days, I hear a desire to be better. To be successful. To beat Florida State. To bring home that elusive SEC title. It’s not a “new season new start” fire, it’s a “new season let’s prove something” fire. They’re hungry for victory. They’re hungry for respect. They’re hungry for success.
Why shouldn’t they be? We’re more talented offensively than we have been in years, we still have a playmaker-loaded (albeit unexperienced) defense, and we’ve got a kicker who can hit field goals from just about anywhere. And we have seven home games this season, one more thing that will work in our favor.
We have the makings of success. Now we just have to play.